February 2016 Issue
January 26, 2016

Ad touts progress in ending test-and-punish

Source: NYSUT United

NYSUT, supported by parent, education and civil rights groups, launched a 10-day statewide media campaign in mid-January that highlights the progress teachers, parents and students have made in ending the test-and-punish era in public education and beginning to see a future in which educators are free to "teach and inspire."

"Unprecedented activism by parents and teachers opened the door for much-needed change in public education," said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee. "The pendulum is swinging back to what's most important — teaching and learning. At the same time, we're reminding New Yorkers that ... we must all work together to continue this progress for our students."

The New York State PTA, New York NAACP and the School Administrators Association of New York State backed the campaign.

The $1 million television ad proclaims: "Teachers, parents and students came together speaking out for change in our public schools. End the era of test-and-punish. Begin a future of teach-and-inspire. As a result, Gov. Cuomo's task force recommended sweeping changes. The state is committed to a total reboot and the Regents are acting. That's progress — though we are just getting started." The ad concludes, "We must restore the joy of teaching and learning for our kids. Let's get it done, working together."

NYSUT Vice President Catalina Fortino, a member of the governor's Common Core Task Force, noted the Regents have already taken initial steps, such as approving a four-year moratorium on the use of flawed state tests in teacher evaluations and beginning work on New York State Standards.

"NYSUT is committed to working with the Regents to re-design state assessments; reducing the amount of time spent on testing; and ensuring teacher evaluations are fair and meaningful," she said.

NYSUT's ad was shown in regional markets across the state. It coincided with a television ad produced by the United Federation of Teachers, NYSUT's largest local, called "Working Together." The UFT ad was shown in the New York City metro area.

"The governor and legislators clearly hear what parents and teachers are saying: Over-testing is bad for students. The task force provided clear direction and we look to the Regents and State Education Department to move this forward," said NYSUT Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta.

To watch the NYSUT ad, go to www.nysut.org/teachandinspire or www.facebook.com/NYSUTUnited.